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Author Topic: Cold Iron Lore?  (Read 7622 times)
Naya
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« Topic Start: September 02, 2010, 11:46:34 am »

I have been scouring the net for lore about iron, but specifically I am looking for WHY it is traditionally considered a repellent for spirits, fae, and other non-corporeal beings.  If anyone has any resources or insights, I would be thrilled to read them.
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« Reply #1: September 02, 2010, 12:46:55 pm »

I have been scouring the net for lore about iron, but specifically I am looking for WHY it is traditionally considered a repellent for spirits, fae, and other non-corporeal beings.  If anyone has any resources or insights, I would be thrilled to read them.

I've mostly run across it in fiction, but some of it is very old fiction and there may be referents for it in actual myth as well (which I tend to regard as just a different genre of fiction a lot of the time).

I think I always figured that these beings had so much going for them in the way of might and power that they needed some kind of kryptonite just so humans wouldn't give up in despair and envy.

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« Reply #2: September 02, 2010, 02:22:22 pm »


The standard explanation I've seen is a memory of iron age/bronze age conflicts, in which iron weapons turned the fights.

My personal UPG is that the fae are often associated with starry skies, as star creatures; iron is what kills stars.
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« Reply #3: September 02, 2010, 04:20:41 pm »

Hrrm.  I need to look that standard explanation up and read more.

Your UPG's perspective is interesting... I hadn't considered that one before, but that's what I'm hoping to find - other things to consider on this matter.

I've been working with metals a lot more lately, and while I was walking down the street I found this awesome old iron nail - a hand-made one.  I snapped it up thinking it'd be perfect to use in a charm, and of course all of the lore about iron being like Kryptonite to spirit beings has come across my lap in my contemplations of what to make with this cool old nail. 

The standard explanation I've seen is a memory of iron age/bronze age conflicts, in which iron weapons turned the fights.

My personal UPG is that the fae are often associated with starry skies, as star creatures; iron is what kills stars.
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« Reply #4: September 02, 2010, 04:28:27 pm »

I've been working with metals a lot more lately, and while I was walking down the street I found this awesome old iron nail - a hand-made one.  I snapped it up thinking it'd be perfect to use in a charm, and of course all of the lore about iron being like Kryptonite to spirit beings has come across my lap in my contemplations of what to make with this cool old nail. 

One of the scraps of lore in the tradition where I'm training is to keep an iron nail on your altar for grounding/safety. Wink
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« Reply #5: September 02, 2010, 05:39:14 pm »

My personal UPG is that the fae are often associated with starry skies, as star creatures; iron is what kills stars.

Can you explain that a little more? I don't know the slightest bit about astronomy.
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« Reply #6: September 02, 2010, 05:53:39 pm »

Can you explain that a little more? I don't know the slightest bit about astronomy.

Okay, so.  Stars run on fusion, right?  Smash hydrogens together to make heliums, smash heliums together to make heavier stuff, etc.

Fusion processes continue to produce energy up until iron.  Basically, when you hit iron, if you try to fuse those atoms, it *takes* more energy to stick 'em together than you get out of the sticking.

So stars will go fusing along happily, making heavier and heavier stuff, up until they start making iron.  And then the iron just ... sits there, sinking to the center of the star, not feeding the fire, until it can no longer sustain reactions.

Then you don't have a star anymore.

(The really big ones explode, and the *explosion* makes stuff that's heavier than iron.  But that's why stuff heavier than iron is pretty rare in the universe - it doesn't come from normal stars.)
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« Reply #7: September 05, 2010, 04:49:15 pm »


That is interesting. Also the notion of fae being star creatures.
Never really thought about that.
*ponder*

Would you think the idea of iron as the star killer, could in some way be known and sunk into the lore?
(Other strange things did, things folks couldn't know about in early times, not in the usual way. Just please don't make me give an example. It is slipping from my memory right now.)

The iron age/better weapons explanation is the one I've heard about too.
But your UPG got a lot more appeal, I must say. Wink
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« Reply #8: September 05, 2010, 07:58:42 pm »

Would you think the idea of iron as the star killer, could in some way be known and sunk into the lore?

Nope, that's modern astrophysics.  The only way it would be in the lore is if that's the actual fae reason for it. Wink
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« Reply #9: September 06, 2010, 03:15:07 am »

That is interesting. Also the notion of fae being star creatures.
Never really thought about that.
*ponder*


Christopher Punczak writes a bit about it in his book "Ascension Magick".  Unfortunately, the section on the fae was pretty much the only thing in the book I found useful, I'm not big into alien theories and such.
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« Reply #10: September 06, 2010, 04:17:11 am »



The iron age/better weapons explanation is the one I've heard about too.



I just finished rereading Donna Gillespie's The Lightbearer. It's about a heroine from a Germanic tribe, called the Chats. Now, it's a work of fiction, but supposedly Donna Gillespie researched this stuff for 7 years to make a grand book on it. In it, as a baby, she has a sword in her crib, as supposedly iron cuts magic. And, she was prophesized as a baby to become a priestess, something her mother wanted to avoid. Also, when one of their holy women visits their home, they have to dig up the iron blade they keep buried under the threshold for protection, as the women cannot pass over it. Later, when the heroine is brought to a sacred Island, she's required to leave all her weapons and iron behind as it disrupts the work that is done there.


Personally, I'd try some simple energy work with the iron nail in your hand and see if it's chargeable, workable or if it somehow 'won't stick'. Nothing like trial and error, as long as you keep it a small scale experiment Wink
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« Reply #11: September 06, 2010, 04:40:27 am »

Nope, that's modern astrophysics.  The only way it would be in the lore is if that's the actual fae reason for it. Wink

Well, who knows?  Cheesy

No what I tried to remember, was something about an old tribe.
They knew the exact number of stars in a certain constellation, though they are not all visible to the bare eye.

Now, the explanation about the better iron age weapons is sure the better guess, but there is no way of telling, that someone did not receive some kind of knowledge in symbolic pictures, even before modern times.

However, it is just playing with speculations, never mind. Wink

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« Reply #12: September 11, 2010, 08:26:28 pm »

I have been scouring the net for lore about iron, but specifically I am looking for WHY it is traditionally considered a repellent for spirits, fae, and other non-corporeal beings.  If anyone has any resources or insights, I would be thrilled to read them.

The iron matches the iron in our blood. The Fae are not all that mingly with humans.
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« Reply #13: September 11, 2010, 09:58:43 pm »

I have been scouring the net for lore about iron, but specifically I am looking for WHY it is traditionally considered a repellent for spirits, fae, and other non-corporeal beings.  If anyone has any resources or insights, I would be thrilled to read them.

Note: I have no sources for this.  It may all be from fiction.

I've read that certain materials absorb energy differently.  Copper will soak it up, gold will not.  Iron is like a sinkhole, it holds energy like crazy.  This might come from forging, where metals have different melting points.  Magical energy was linked with heat energy... ...

At any rate, being an absorber, Iron would be uncomfortable to fairies because they're laden with energy to be sucked away.
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« Reply #14: June 25, 2011, 09:05:11 pm »

I have been scouring the net for lore about iron, but specifically I am looking for WHY it is traditionally considered a repellent for spirits, fae, and other non-corporeal beings.  If anyone has any resources or insights, I would be thrilled to read them.

Amulets and lucky horse shoes are classic examples of using iron to ward off spirits. I've also heard folklore about getting away from chasing spirits by sticking a jackknife in a tree so that the tree and the knife form a closed triangle. This supposedly forces the spirit to slow down, shift form, and squeeze through the knife hole, giving the pursued plety of time to get away.

I also read that fairies have an aversion to iron, but can't exactly recall why. I'm sure it's mentioned in "The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries" by W Y Evans Wentz, but I'm not sure where or in what context. I always shake my head when I see the "Iron Fairies" in stores (google it if you've never come across them.)

In the bronze and iron age, metals forged in a furnace were often considered to be "born" from a firey womb. Made things were often considered to have souls, and swords were considered to have different souls than tools. Tools could be melted down and turned into other tools, but swords were often kept in a family for generations, until their usable life was over. At this time, they were often placed in water. Many swords from this time have been pulled from old rivers and bogs. Perhaps the soul element had something to do with the folklore of cold iron repelling spirits.

In a modern, (para)scientific context, ghost hunters often use EMF meters to try and track ghostly activity. EMF meters measure electromagnetic currents in an area. On these hunts, batteries in cameras and other equipment often get drained quickly. Cold spots are also felt in rooms believed to be haunted. All of these things point to the concept of spirits draining energy from available sources in order to transfer it into physical manifestation. Since much of this energy transference seems to be electrical, perhaps the ancients inadvertently learned how to use Iron for its ability to ground electrical current, thereby stopping the ability of spirits to physically manifest.

Just some things to think about.
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